Promotions do not happen overnight. The truth is, for most promotions, people need to know who you are and what it is that you do for the organization. Not just the ordinary run-of-the-mill stuff like getting to work on time every day or turning in your reports on time, but the extraordinary stuff that shows you going above and beyond on a consistent basis. Once you have a major accomplishment, what do you do? How do you go about getting it out there and making your name a “household” or better yet “office” name (in a good way, of course). It’s all about self-promotion. It’s about making the higher-ups aware of your accomplishments.
You may think that your excellent work will speak for itself. The truth is there are probably many other employees doing the exact same “excellent” work. Your work, while outstanding, may be considered the norm. Effective self-promotion requires you to take the first step of attracting attention to what you do, sure it may be the same, but you need to take it to the next level and get noticed.
No one is going to do your bragging for you, not your co-workers or your boss. Sure, they may put in a good word for you, but they won’t do it justice – not like you would be able to. Why? No one knows your story from beginning to end like you do. Is this to say that they won’t stand up on your behalf? No, they would – but it’s like a job reference. Your resume and interview actually get you 95 percent of the way, the references can take it over the finish line. You need to be in charge of your own public relations campaign.
Your self-promotion needs to be a year-round public relations campaign. You don’t want to be obnoxious with it, but you do need to engage in self-promotion throughout the year. Think about it, when it comes down to downsizing and promotions, managers are not looking at a single event. Managers and CEO’s are looking at a compilation of your activities over long periods of time. Don’t save your horn tooting for your performance review, make sure your efforts are known throughout the year.
What should you self-promote? Here are a few suggestions:
- Goals accomplished ahead of schedule and under-budget if applicable.
- Taking on extra tasks to assist overwhelmed co-workers.
- Any project that saves the company time or money.
- Any project that is a “give back” to your profession (serving on boards, volunteering)
The bottom line? Don’t stand around waiting to get noticed. No one can take charge of your career the way it needs to be done other than you. Keep in mind that there is a fine line between self-promotion and being obnoxious, but it’s necessary and do-able.